The gall of Russian President Vladimir Putin can be unnerving. For example, take his response to the missile attack that destroyed a Malaysian jetliner flying over war-torn Ukraine: “This tragedy would not have happened if there was peace in this land.” He’s right. But who is responsible for the absence of peace? Vladimir Putin.
Putin’s manufacture of Ukraine’s civil war was as precise as a watchmaker’s careful placement of intricate parts to ensure a timepiece’s operation. If the missile was fired by Ukrainian rebels, as is believed, they likely were trained by Russians.
Goaded and supplied by Putin, the separatists have been taking over towns in eastern Ukraine since April in an attempt to establish an independent, pro-Russian republic. In June, they boasted of taking over a Ukrainian air-defense base equipped with the same type of Russian-made Buk missile that may have brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week.
Killed were nearly 300 men, women and children on their way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. They had no time to prepare for death. The missile arrived out of nowhere and blew the plane into pieces.
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Once again, families are mourning. It was only in March that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. It still hasn’t been found.
At least one American was killed in Thursday’s missile attack. So were 80 children.
“We are going to make sure the truth is out,” President Barack Obama said Friday, pledging U.S. participation in any investigation. If the results point a finger at Putin’s minions, Europe should lose its reluctance to follow the United States’ lead in imposing stronger economic sanctions on Russia for orchestrating the Ukrainian war. That pressure is needed to make Putin leave Ukraine alone.